Other Barrels vs Carboys for bulk aging kits

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I am pondering the purchase of a 20L oak barrel. I have never used barrels, always glass carboys. Wondering if this community has any recommendations to help me decide. Are they easy to use? Is there specific things that are required to clean? Will it yield a nicer kit wine? Thanks for the help.
 
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Bmd2k1

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I use 20L Speidels to bulk age & add Oak spirals --- my results have been great!

My only experience with an oak barrel has been a small 2L one I used to age some ice cider...did a great job 4 it's purpose! Multiple uses render it flavor providing neutral.

Cheers!
 

Johnd

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Like anything new, there is a bit of learning to do with barrel aging, but well worth the effort. IMHO, once you get the hang of barrel aging, it will do more to improve your wine than any other aging medium you can choose from. There’s a reason barrels have been used to age wine for centuries. This forum has all of the information that you’ll ever need to barrel age your wine successfully, pretty easy to do your research in old threads here: Barrels & Oaking . Jump on and ask the group if you have any questions.
 
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Thanks. I have been reading that thread but haven’t yet come across anyone that calls out specifically using wine kits in them, but I’ll keep looking. It does seem the consensus is very positive on the outcome of using them. But I wonder if kit wine will react the same as fresh grapes or fresh juice does. Maybe it’s just not worth the effort if I use kits.
 
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hounddawg

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this is probably way off the mark, but if using barrels-spirals and so forth, it would seem you are changing your wine till you get your sweet spot, where as a glass carboy or a stainless steel carboys, your only difference would be letting your wine blend and mature,
Dawg
 
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I went ahead and ordered one from Bochart.us, they have a 23L special edition oak barrel that is thicker wood than their standard and all the others online I found. It’s hard to find 23L (most are only 20 L) and I want to use 23L kits. I did reach out to Vadai but they are out of stock with no idea on timing for this size. Crossing my fingers on the quality but I think it’s kinda hit and miss with all these barrels as far as leaking goes. Theirs comes with a stand, spigot, bung and custom engraving for $300 delivered
 

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Thanks. I have been reading that thread but haven’t yet come across anyone that calls out specifically using wine kits in them, but I’ll keep looking. It does seem the consensus is very positive on the outcome of using them. But I wonder if kit wine will react the same as fresh grapes or fresh juice does. Maybe it’s just not worth the effort if I use kits.
Before switching to grape wine, I only made kits, and aged 50+ kits in barrels. LOTS of people age their kits in barrels, the process is the same, except that you don’t need to do MLF on kit wine, as it’s already acid balanced.
 

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You may already know this, be prepared to pull you wine out of a brand new 20/23 liter barrel in a week or two. My first wine in a 20 liter barrel was just 10 days. Racked into glass, filled the barrel with a different wine which stayed for almost 4 weeks before racking out. The oak in a new barrel at first is strong. Be careful and taste often.
 
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You may already know this, be prepared to pull you wine out of a brand new 20/23 liter barrel in a week or two. My first wine in a 20 liter barrel was just 10 days. Racked into glass, filled the barrel with a different wine which stayed for almost 4 weeks before racking out. The oak in a new barrel at first is strong. Be careful and taste often.

Thanks Chefken…question did you put it into the barrel right after clearing? Or did you let it sit in the carboy a while first? It sounds like a lot of people on this forum like to carboy them for a while to ensure they are fully cleared and settled so that you don’t end up with lees in the barrel, then put it back into the carboy to finish bulk aging.
 
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I'm not saying these are not good barrels and maybe their website is lacking, however after looking at their website I noticed the following.
1. There are only 4 hoops, most barrels of this size has 6.
2. As far as I can tell they don't tell you what kind of oak it is or the toast level.
3. The barrel dimensions given are not correct for that size barrel.

Again I'm not trying to down play these I just thought you should be aware.
 
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Thanks Chefken…question did you put it into the barrel right after clearing? Or did you let it sit in the carboy a while first? It sounds like a lot of people on this forum like to carboy them for a while to ensure they are fully cleared and settled so that you don’t end up with lees in the barrel, then put it back into the carboy to finish bulk aging.

I believe what you are referring to is wines going through MLF. I believe a lot of us prefer to barrel after MLF for the reasons you state. With a kit once you rack it off primary it can go straight into the barrel.
 
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I'm not saying these are not good barrels and maybe their website is lacking, however after looking at their website I noticed the following.
1. There are only 4 hoops, most barrels of this size has 6.
2. As far as I can tell they don't tell you what kind of oak it is or the toast level.
3. The barrel dimensions given are not correct for that size barrel.

Again I'm not trying to down play these I just thought you should be aware.


I really appreciate those observations, I will IM the sales manager and ask him about those observations. It states oak, but not specifically white oak. So hard to find 6 gallon barrels right now, everything else is 5 gallon… I hope I didn’t just spend $300 on a nice barrel ornament :(
 

chefken

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Thanks Chefken…question did you put it into the barrel right after clearing? Or did you let it sit in the carboy a while first? It sounds like a lot of people on this forum like to carboy them for a while to ensure they are fully cleared and settled so that you don’t end up with lees in the barrel, then put it back into the carboy to finish bulk aging.
I’ve only put cleared wines in my barrel. I had several wines in carboys when I started using the new barrel. Just kept racking in and out.
 
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@mainshipfred for the 25 L barrels They state they are French oak barrels diameter 13” height 16”. They state only 4 rings are needed for this size and they use thicker hoops vs those that use 6 and they only use stainless hoops.


20L / 5 gal and 25L / 6 gallons have 4 rings
The price is $189,95 for 20L
$199,95 for 25L
It is a special edition oak barrels - French oak, medium toasted inside
(France standard)

he stated that they know that they have some work to do on their website still.
 
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Here is a pic of the barrel that Home Brew Ohio is selling (6 rings) and the one that Bochart is selling (4 rings thicker wood)…

now I am by no means educated on this matter, but it does seem like the Bochart is indeed a much thicker material and the planks appear to be wider as well.
 

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@mainshipfred for the 25 L barrels They state they are French oak barrels diameter 13” height 16”. They state only 4 rings are needed for this size and they use thicker hoops vs those that use 6 and they only use stainless hoops.


20L / 5 gal and 25L / 6 gallons have 4 rings
The price is $189,95 for 20L
$199,95 for 25L
It is a special edition oak barrels - French oak, medium toasted inside
(France standard)

he stated that they know that they have some work to do on their website still.

Sounds like you found a pretty good on French barrels. The size still sounds off though. I think mine are 17 tall and 16 belly.
 
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I really don’t like to top up, I prefer using marbles in my carboy’s. If I use 20 L, i have more wine than the barrel can hold and that’s a pain too.

Even if you get a 23L barrel, you will need to top up some. Some will be absorbed by the barrel, some will become the angels share and evaporate. That's why most folks who make kids get a 20 L barrel and have that extra 3 L for topping up.
 

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